Despite the rise of Skype and other virtual meeting opportunities, face-to-face meetings remain a necessity. As a secretary or office manager, you’re most likely responsible for organising these meetings – wherever in the world they take place.
However, booking business travel presents a whole different set of challenges. We’ll walk you through the most common mistakes made when booking business travel and what you can do to ensure that you avoid making them.
The wrong airport
When booking a corporate travel trip, start by clarifying who is travelling, where they’re travelling to and whether there are any special requirements. This will avoid any incorrect arrangements being made and prevent you from wasting time having to correct time later down the line.
A lot of business trips originating in Europe are to London, but as a travel management company we know that there are 6 different airports in and around London. Knowing where a conference or meeting is taking place, for example, enables us to book traveller to the right airport, making for a more efficient trip.
So tickets, accommodation and airport transfers are sorted, but are you missing anything? A business visa is required for many destinations, such as Turkey, Russia, the United States and Canada. It sometimes takes a few days before the visa is processed, so be sure to request it on time.
We let our clients know if a visa needs to be arranged, as this is something that is often overlooked. Small mistakes are common at this point in the booking process, for example using the letter O instead of the number 0 in a traveller’s passport number. Even a small error can result in the trip not going ahead.
Did you know that you have to adhere to the exact name on the passport when you make a booking? Modifications can be involve high costs and in the worst-case scenario, a traveller cannot proceed with a name that has not been give correctly.
We regularly see tickets that are booked under a different name. For example, Jan de Vries will be on the ticket, while the (given) name is John. Or, for example, the married surname is used instead of their own name as shown on the passport. In the case of names that we might suspect to be nicknames, we always ask for security reasons, but unfortunately, we cannot always know for sure. A good solution is to create traveller profiles in order to avoid problems in future.
Do you book business trips for travellers who leave last-minute or, for example, take expensive equipment with them? If so, then it’s a good idea to think about Continuous Business Travel Insurance for an individual traveller or Collective Travel Insurance for the entire organisation. A business trip may be cancelled or cut short, which is frustrating enough, but if it does happen
then it’s nice not to be concerned with finances.
It might be the case that you have to cancel a business trip due to unforeseen circumstances. When this happens, it's nice to get certain costs reimbursed. Trying to save costs on insurance can quickly turn a bargain into an expensive experience. We advise everyone to book trips that are well-insured.
In case of emergency…
Did you know that as a company you have a legal duty of care for your employees – including on a business trip? This covers a whole range of possible situations: from the loss of travel documents to a guarantee that employees do not have to get into a car after a long flight.
"Duty of care is of crucial importance. You can do a number of things yourself. Prepare travellers as well as possible for the risks at the business trip destination and arrange together what to do and who to contact in the event of a disaster. We also offer you a free alert service, so that you as a booker are always aware of disasters happening in the world. In addition, we can help you keep track of your travellers, wherever they are in the world."